White House pressures to release details of inquiry into Jared Kushner’s US$500m loans after it says nothing improper occurred
The White House counsel’s office is facing demands from House Democrats to provide results from an internal inquiry into more than US$500 million in loans made last year by two companies to the family firm of US President Donald Trump’s senior adviser, Jared Kushner.
Kushner stepped down from Kushner Cos when he took office to avoid conflicts of interest, yet the loans from Citigroup and Apollo Global Management coincided with his meetings with executives of those companies.
Representatives Elijah Cummings of Maryland and Raja Krishnamoorthi of Illinois asked White House Counsel Don McGahn to provide documents showing any results from the Kushner inquiry, and anything related to the loans.
Kushner’s lawyer, Abbe Lowell, said on Monday that it was his understanding that “the White House counsel concluded there were no issues involving Jared.”
The head of the government’s ethics agency informed Krishnamoorthi last week about the White House inquiry into whether any ethics or criminal laws were broken in Kushner’s dealings with the two companies.
David Apol, acting director of the US Office of Government Ethics, told Krishnamoorthi that White House lawyers were investigating whether the loans to Kushner Cos may have spurred ethics or criminal violations.
Apol said that when he raised concerns with White House lawyers about the loans and whether they should look into the matter, “the White House informed me that they had already begun the process.”
Lowell denied any improprieties by Kushner: “He was not involved with his former company after he entered government service; the transactions in question came after that; he had nothing to do with those transactions; the transactions had nothing to do with any of his meetings in the White House.”
Both companies have insisted that their officials did nothing wrong in meeting with Kushner.
In one case, Citigroup lent US$325 million to Kushner Cos in spring 2017 soon after Jared Kushner met with its chief executive, Michael Corbat. Last week, Citigroup’s general counsel told several Democratic lawmakers in a letter that the loan was “completely appropriate.”
In a second case, Kushner met several times with Apollo co-founder Joshua Harris and discussed a possible White House job – followed by Apollo’s loan of US$184 million to the Kushner family firm.
An Apollo spokesman previously said that Harris “never discussed with Jared Kushner a loan, investment or any other business arrangement or regulatory matter involving Apollo.”
In a separate letter last week to Democratic lawmakers, an Apollo official added that “to our knowledge, Jared Kushner did not play any role on behalf of Kushner Companies with respect” to the loan.
In their letter on Tuesday, Krishnamoorthi and Cummings raised concerns that White House lawyers had previously ignored requests about for information about Kushner, given the increasing number of allegations that Mr Kushner had used his White House role to benefit his family’s company.
Kushner Cos has defended its role in the two loans. A spokeswoman for Kushner Cos said Monday that firm had not received any correspondence from the White House.